Drupal 6 has been released!
It was November of 2006 that I first stumbled upon Drupal while researching CMS packages for a project. I had previously built a website with Mambo so I first took a peek at the most recent incarnation of Mambo, now known as Joomla!. I installed Joomla! and played with it a bit and was very impressed. I was also impressed by the sheer number of community contributions to the Joomla! project as well as the community itself.
Then I came across several reviews from web developers who had moved from Joomla to Drupal based on Drupal's better framework ease of customizability, and as a developer myself I know that those are essential characteristics. I soon downloaded Drupal to see what all the fuss was about. First impressions weren't great. Some tasks weren't very intuitive and some of the terminology used was head scratching. Also I found the documentation was somewhat lacking so it was definitely slow going at first. Even though getting started with Drupal wasn't simple, I could see the power in the platform and the more time I spent with it the more I liked what I saw. My enthusiasm continued to grow as I slogged through the handbooks and hundreds of forum and community blog posts. Once the Pro Drupal Development book came out, the architecture of the framework became much more clear.
But technology alone didn't win my heart. Equally important is the global community ecosystem surrounding Drupal. I have yet to encounter any sense of community such as the one surrounding Drupal. It is strangely utopian - thousands of people all around the world offering limitless help, support and encouragement to other community members. After reading the forums, blogs, developer notes etc. you really begin to feel the oddly positive and enthusiastic vibe throughout. It is a refreshing place to be. My enthusiasm for this community and technology grew so much that it became the catalyst for a long standing dream of mine to start my own company and I founded Steampunk Webwerks LLC.
So now, 16 months later, after first getting my feet wet with 4.7, then cutting my teeth on 5.0 on up through 5.7, Drupal 6 is here and my enthusiasm continues to grow for this amazing contribution to the open source community.